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UK weekly edition, Wenesday, September 5, 2007

Part of assimilating here in England is picking up the local language, which is sometimes not easy. It always brings to mind that scene in the film “European Vacation,” where an English hotelier is talking to Chevy Chase. Chase’s Clark Griswold maddeningly pounds on his pocket translator until his son says, “Dad, he’s speaking English.”

Assimilation isn’t going to come with a few “cheers,” “mates” or “bloodys” thrown into the conversation. You need to go deeper.

Here are a couple slang gems, courtesy of, that will give you your bonafides in the English eyes. Watch this space for more in the coming months.

Alcopop: Noun. A sweet, ready-mixed fruit drink containing alcohol. Because it’s popular with young women in the clubs, it’s also known as “tart fuel.”

Beer scooter: Noun. The supposed transport one must have taken to get home when drunk and when there is no recollection of how one actually got home.

Big white telephone: Noun. The toilet bowl. Usually combined with various terms to express the action of vomiting, i.e. “talking down the big white telephone” or “talking to God on the big white telephone.”

Billy no mates: Noun. A derogatory term for someone who appears to have no friends.

Blue rinser: Noun. An elderly lady, from the habit of some in this age group to have their hair dyed with a hint of blue.

Got a question about something you’ve seen or heard around the United Kingdom? E-mail us at:


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